Budget priorities for 21st century defense: A conversation with Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter

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POST-EVENT SUMMARY
On Wednesday, AEI hosted Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter for a discussion of the U.S. defense budget in a time of fiscal and strategic transition. As part of an ongoing tug-of-war between the executive branch and the U.S. House of Representatives, Carter took particular issue with congressional markups that — in what he called the "zero sum game" of budgeting — would impinge upon U.S. Department of Defense planning.

Sequestration — the congressional mechanism enacted by the 2011 Budget Control Act that would draw at least $500 billion from the U.S. defense budget — was another point of discussion. Carter called this process "irrational," indicating that it would have "devastating" consequences.

Carter likewise described the convergence of two factors: the 2011 Budget Control Act, which proposes its own cuts to defense spending, and the changing strategic environment. Carter concluded that the combination of these factors have the potential to bring about a change of direction within the Department of Defense and the defense industry.

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EVENT DESCRIPTION
The discussion of U.S. defense spending has taken on a new dimension because of the prospect of sequestration as well as the number of recent budgetary reductions in the U.S. Department of Defense — most notably evidenced in the 2011 Budget Control Act.

The Obama administration’s strategic “pivot” to Asia poses questions about how and where resources are to be allocated and about what type of military might be required for this process to take place. AEI’s Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies will host Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter for a timely discussion of U.S. defense budgets, of the changing strategic landscape in the U.S. and the force that this landscape demands.

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